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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  January 8, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EST

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fraud and they cannot prove it, i believe they have the right to say that i'm corrupted or i have ties with people who are corrupted. first of all how do you know somebody is corrupted? he has to be caught. when he's caught then you can say he was corrupt. people can say whatever they want about people. myself i've been focused on what i have to do. >> that's it for our special coverage of haiti on shaky ground. the news continues on al jazeera america. >> on "america tonight": behind the scenes of the national gun debate. >> we can create reasonable legislation to accomplish both
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objectives here. reduce crimes of violence while still not eroding the second amendment. >> a police chief advising the president speaks exclusively with "america tonight." good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm adam may sitting in for joie chen tonight. it has been a politically charged week in our nation. the gun debate is back center-stage. after president obama took executive action to strengthen gun laws. a new poll shows he has the support of most americans. but opposition sits at nearly one-third and that includes the republican party. it may seem like consensus on this issue is nearly impossible but one man is working to change that. in this "america tonight" exclusive, the police chief advising president obama takes us behind the scenes. >> hold on, wane gets paid to sell guns, jim johnson gets paid
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to protect. what was that like? >> very, very challenging. >> jim johnson not only takes on the national rifle association, he oversees the 18th largest police department in north america, baltimore county in maryland. >> you advised the president on this issue? >> i've had the opportunity to sit with the president several times along with the vice president. >> johnson was a key advisor to president obama, during white house meetings. on how to tackle gun violence and change gun laws. >> take me behind the scenes if you would a little bit. prior to the president's announcement, earlier this week, what involvement did you have and other law enforcement officials? >> for years we've been meeting with federal administration, looking at reasonable legislation that could be passed to help address this issue. adam i'm the hunter. i'm a target shooter. i only several weapons and i certainly am a champion and
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believe strongly in the second amendment. but i do think, as many do, that we can create reasonable legislation to accomplish both objectives here. reduce crimes of violence while still not eroding the second amendment. >> johnson chairs the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence, speaking on behalf of ten of the largest police organization he from across america. >> does this large group have a position on gun safety laws in this country. >> we have stayed the course through many, many years. demanding a national background check for all gun sales. we know that across america, nearly 40% of all guns are bought, sold, traded, through gun shows, internet sales which have grown dramatically. >> how does that affect public safety? >> the gun that was used to kill one of my police officers within
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the last two years was acquired without going through a background check. >> johnson was on the phone with administration officials just hours before the president issued his executive order. expanding background checks, increasing the number of federal agents who investigate and trace gun crimes. and calling on congress to increase funding for mental health. chief johnson was also in the room at the white house when the president was overcome by emotion, recalling incidents of gun violence. >> every time i think about those kids it gets me mad. and by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day. >> i think passion is real. he's the one that goes to these communities after tragedy, and lifnlistens carefully day after, ponders and considers and debates the different opinions on this topic.
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>> what's your reaction to how people have expressed their outrage over the president's actions? >> i've heard at the dinner table sunday, i've lost some friends over this topic. guys won't talk to me anymore. my own son. so it creates a very energetic debate. >> according to a new poll from cnn most americans support the president's actions but one-third are in opposition. annette wachter is one of them. a competitive shooter from seattle, washington she believes expanding background checks is a slippery slope. in 2014, voters in that state overwhelmingly approved a referendum closing the so-called gun show and internet loophole. >> this was the first step of other forms of gun control. now that this has passed they are starting to write bills for storage -- gun storage, for magazine capacity, semi auto ban
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altogether. >> hayes is a gun show operator in montana. he's been fighting efforts to expand background checks there. believing the government already has the tools to stop gun violence. >> enforce the laws they've got in america between the federal government and states, there's already 20,000 gun laws on the books. >> what do you say to the argument though that you need to get a license to drive a car? why not get a license to -- >> you don't need a license to drive a car, to drive a car on a public road that's one thing. that's what our society says. but cars are not a part of the bill of rights. firearms are the second amendment of the united states constitution. our forefathers, a mere 250 years ago, realized our freedom was no better than our ability to protect our freedom and sometimes you have to protect yourself from your own government. >> many foaps folk folks think e
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gun-grab. what's the next step? you have to assure them that there's no intent to good out and seize all the handguns from lawful owners of these weapons. i think many think, though, that this is just a first step. >> this is where we examine firearms. and rounds recovered from crime scenes. >> johnson says the problem of illegally obtained guns is very real. this lab is full of guns. purchased without a background check. which were used in crime. and this is another room inside baltimore county police headquarters. it's full of weapons that have been seized and many of the guns were used to end a life. and this is just one county in one state in america. >> you hear their stories. you talk and you hold the hand
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of a wheelchair-bound young woman who was shot and seriously injured who is now confined to a wheelchair the rest of her life. and you begin to understand how the gun was acquired, what could have been done to stop it? what measures could be taken that are reasonable but again, don't infringe upon the second amendment. so i think we've got it right. again, i believe the american public has it right. >> you believe the momentum is swinging in the direction now? >> i do, i do. in fact no matter who acquires the president's role as we go into the future i think they'll come to realize that this was the will of the american public and this will, in fact, help save lives in the united states. >> up next: gun shows and loopholes. "america tonight's" christof putzel on just how easy it is to purchase weapons in texas with no questions asked. and later, a mother's pain
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and her fight to keep the peace on the violent streets of chicago. and hot on "america tonight's" website now, what we have learned after 500 cop cushions and three years of college football? explore more at
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and welcome back. president obama announced this week that he plans to use
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executive action to close the so-called gun show loopholes. this is a move that once again has sparked a huge debate on gun control. these loopholes currently allow gun dealers to sell guns without background checks. "america tonight's" christof putzel takes us inside a texas gun show to expose just how easy it is to buy a gun. >> reporter: the gun shows have a strict no-filming policy so rick and i were outfitted with hidden cameras. the licensed dealers at the gun show are required by law to conduct background checks before selling guns and most of them to. but the law allows unlicenses individuals to sell assault weapons from private collections right alongside the licensed dealers. these unlicensed individuals are not required to run a background check or fill out any paperwork. >> no tax no title no license.
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>> no need for any documentation or anything like that? >> with him you do with me you don't. i'm a private individual. >> you guys don't do a background check? >> tbriefprivate sales. >> after we told him that we probably would not pass a background check, the private seller sold rick two ar-15 assault rifles. over the course of the next 30 minutes, rick purchased one high powered assault rifle after another without being asked for i.d. or filling out any paperwork that would allow the guns to be traced back to him. as we were preparing to leave the gun show we were approached by two men speaking spanish and driving a car with mexican license plates. >> what are you doing? seen a 7.16. >> for sale?
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>> the men offered to buy all of our guns on the so the with cash. >> perfect, no dialect, spanish or mexican. >> back at his house rick unloaded the weapons he bought at the gun show. enough fire power to arm a small gang. >> 7.16, all of the native soldiers use them. another bushmaster. with scope. looks like it's pretty much unused. real popular with drug runners in mexico. these are the types of weapons that they see and 40 minutes would be stretching it. you know, really, the time that it took to go in there and purchase these weapons probably totaled about 30 minutes. >> and it was all perfectly legal. >> it was all perfectly legal. >> why did you want to show me all of this? >> truthfully what i want to do is i want to wake america up. i want to wake america up to the
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fact that people are dying and whether in mexico, needlessly, i want to show them some compassion. we can't stand by and let 45, 50,000 people get killed, 75, 25, 30 people at one time just because we don't want to close off our gun laws. >> joining us tonight is "america tonight's" christof putzel with this eye opening report. you hear from gun supporters that the gun show loophole doesn't exist or kind of a red herring and doesn't exist. i can't believe what you walked out with. >> it does exist. we walked out with seven high powered rifles, we weren't asked for i.d., we didn't fill out tonight paperwork. for someone to say it doesn't exist, that's proof that it exists. what the question is, is this actually going to make any difference whatsoever with what obama is trying to take place. >> you're talking about
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president obama's new executive order. will that stop these types of purchases if someone wanted to buy these types of weapons? >> not really. all it's really going to do is, more narrow the loophole than really close it. because he can't really enforce closing it completely without congress. and so what's going to happen is he's just putting in more stricter rules to make sure that people abide by the law that's already there. so somebody who is licensed as a licensed dealer does this for profit will really have to make sure they are really following rules. they're not going and saying, this is from my private collection, you can buy this without filling out paperwork. there are stricter penalties for that. that's what you saw is still going to be able to take place. >> do you believe that is actually taking place? are there people unlike you who can walk into these gun shows and walk away with these weapons today, tomorrow? >> absolutely. i mean you can walk right in and you can see the things you can
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buy. a lot of things are there wanting to get a small handgun or something like that but you saw in 30 minutes i could walk out with what essentially is a smart arsenal. it exists, it happens and unfortunately even with this new executive order it's probably going to continue happening. >> all right, "america tonight's" christof putzel, thanks. coming up, the place they call chiraq. a mother praying, her son will not be the next victim of gun violence.
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>> when we think of chicago these days it's hard thought to think about the violence that's given the nation's third largest
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city a bad rap. we've heard reports on the number of people killed by gun fire or those left injured. the city's south and west sides are so plagued with violence they have earned the name chiraq. "america tonight's" sarah hoye has discovered that despite the violence, people are trying to build a lasting peace. >> reporter: it's just before 8:00 and pam bosley is already running behind. >> heavenly father we thank you for this day. >> the chicago mother of three rushing to get her 17-year-old son trai t trey not just on timt alive. it was nine years ago that pam's oldest son terrell was shot and killed right before band practice. terrell was outside a church helping his friend unload his
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drums from the car. whenstewhen terrell was shot. pam things got so bad for her she tried to take her life not only once but twice. >> no mother should ever have to bury their child. >> then pam had a realization, she wanted to live and she wanted to make a difference. she left a 20 year career in banking to start purpose over pain, a support group for parents who lost children to gun violence. pam now works at st. sabinas catholic church, a fixture on chicago's south side a part of the city locals call chiraq. pam is the violence prevention manager at the arc a community center run by the church. before each workday pam stops at the church's memorial wall dedicated to victims of gun
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violence. >> to make sure he's safe i protected him as best i could me and my husband and because of guns in our neighborhood, my baby not here. so just like it hatched t happee it can happen to anybody no matter how hard you try to protect your child. [♪ singing ] >> before terrell's death, played the base in multiple church bands, was pursuing a music degree at a nearby college. >> he was in church, he was in college, he was pursuing gospel music. he was doing all the right stuff. it tells me that nobody is exempt from this violence. >> it created a bond between mother and son. >> like you're not in the choir not going to sing anymore? you don't get this. it hurts me when i hear the
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music and the baseline in the music it hurts, the song is dead for me, the music is dead. >> terrell's death has also paralyzed her with fear for safety of her two other sons. especially trey who's still in high school. >> so just try walking through different neighborhoods to get to a school, he's crossing a lot of territories. so i'm afraid of him even walking to school so i drive him. i'm fearful, i'll leave work and take my lunch and go get trey if i need to, if he leaves school, i'll bring him to work with me. i should not have to live in the atmosphere of fear but do i. >> we got to set the motto up in chicago so it will be carried other places since this is your home. >> father mike flager has been the pastor at st. sabinas since the 1980s. >> it is very hard to value your life when a society tells you
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you're not valuable to society. >> and our spoken community activist who simply goes by father mike he too is working to stop the bloodshed. >> i feel we are not only losing a generation i feel like society has decided to lose a generation. we're not just seeing people thrown to the side of the road, we're throwing them there. we're putting them there. we're saying you're disposable. you're starting to see young people across this country rise up and say enough. >> guide the daily gung violence plaguing. >> -- gun violence, like the tragedies in roseburg oregon or charleston, north carolina that. >> laws resulting in it beings easier in too many neighborhoods for a young person to purchase a gun than a book. >> that's why our community for life people don't value us because when there's a mass
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shooting, everybody get outraged and they talk about it and then when it's police brutality, people get outraged around talk about it. but when one black person shoots another black person nobody says anything, that's okay. >> all the while, homicides continue to climb daily, in communities across america, including chicago, that saw it's deadliest year in decades. >> the caskets are becoming smaller and smaller and for 30 years i've seen the same thing. poor schools, lack of jobs, lack of housing, lack of options. up to 30 years when you he keep seeing the same thing nothing is changing well dohh, why don't you wake up. >> we have lamar johnson. >> we have gun violence but people here working hard every day that take pride in the city and their neighborhoods but
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unfortunately it is not being portrayed as such. arounds they're not enemies. they just got it because most of these guys that's involved in violence and have guns in their hands they're hurting, too. and they have a mindset of survival as you talked about before. they need someone to show them the right way. >> the chicago native was born and raised in the city's notorious inglewood neighborhood. and the city's three million residents live worlds apart. >> in the city of chicago is there a tale of two cities? >> yes, chicago is separated. if we take quote unquote the hood and take it downtown, see how quickly the police react then. you can't tell me there's no funding no resources. we know where it's going. the problem is not capability, we believe the problem is priority. they just don't care. >> lamar oversees the brave
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youth program at the arc, a program dedicated to promoting peace. >> in chicago is a violent city right? so is there any change to this? this has always been a violent city. what can we do about it then? >> there is so many things but got much money -- there's so much we can do. we can raise awareness. >> okay raise awareness. >> if i was an average kid living in chicago what would my life be like? >> they're up against not only the stuff in the community but in their homes. a lot of them live in situations where they are forced to grow up fast. walking down the street, walking to the store, it's not guaranteed they will come back home. just that simple. most kids live with their grandparents. so most kids deal with abandonment issues, their self esteem is low, depression, suicide stuff, there's kids around here that's dealing with a lot of stuff.
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if it wasn't for the arc, no telling how worse they would be. >> can we fix this? >> yes, we can but will we? we have given up on -- it's like we have put them in a situation where they can't survive and then criticize them for not making it. how do you expect them to make it when you are not giving them the tools or the resources to make it? >> reporter: pam is once again back at saint sabinas, this time with her husband and her sons. >> our children should stand by them. >> her gun violence support group and lamar's group, join the tournament of safe saturdays at saint sabinas, giving the community a safe place to be even if only a few hours. >> when you see the statistics for this year or the years prior
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the numbers aren't getting any smaller. do you ever feel defeated? >> you know, some days i wake up and i get frustrated, i never want to stop but i get frustrated by the constant crime, the violence, people are not outraged they don't care. >> after all of this why do you stay in chicago and do what you do? >> because i'm the voice of terrell. i'm all that he has left so i do this on behalf of terrell. i will be doing this until i die and i believe change is going to come. we have to change our kids to have dreams again. they have to have dreams in order to live. >> sarah hoye, al jazeera, chicago. >> and that's "america tonight." be sure to tell us what you think at you can also talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back, we'll have more of "america tonight," right here, tomorrow.
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